Nearly 712,000 South Asians died prematurely from air pollution in 2010. Experts warn the full effects of air pollution on health in Asian cities may not be seen for years.

An explosion of car use has made fast-growing Asian cities the epicenter of global air pollution and become, along with obesity, the world's fastest growing cause of death according to a major study of global diseases.

In 2010, more than 2.1m people in Asia died prematurely from air pollution, mostly from the minute particles of diesel soot and gasses emitted from cars and lorries. Other causes of air pollution include construction and industry. Of these deaths, says the study published in The Lancet, 1.2 million were in east Asia and China, and 712,000 in south Asia, including India.

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